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The Long Island Press

Do This: Long Island Events July 10-16

Aerosmith

Aerosmith
The bad boys from Beantown are back at it, with Steven Tyler flashing his pearly whites at the mic and the one and only mad-hatter himself, Slash, as he opens up for the band with his own hot licks on the jump-start of their 20-city “Let Rock Rule” tour. It’s a mutual musical appreciation society. The boys dig Slash, and he credits them with influencing him when he was just another alienated teenager with a pipe dream and an electric guitar. Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, 1000 Ocean Pkwy., Wantagh. jonesbeach.com.$26-$750. 7:30 p.m. July 10.

Huntington Arts Festival
The summer-long, weekend parks performances continue with the Long Island Dance Consortium doing “Kaleidoscope of Dance, No.1” on Thursday night (second performance Aug. 6). Black Violin, a viola and violin duo featuring Kev Marcus and Wil B., blending classical, hip-hop, rock, R&B, with a twist of bluegrass music plays Friday. Plaza Theatrical Productions perform “Young Frankenstein” on Saturday. And the Kristen Murphy, winner of “Got Talent! Long Island,” opens for the Nassau Pops Symphony Orchestra on Sunday. Chapin Rainbow Stage, Heckscher Park, Huntington. huntingtonarts.org. Free. 8:30 p.m. July 10-13.

O.A.R.

The Maryland-based indie rockers headlining this show will play their hits, such as “This Town” and “Shattered (Turn the Car Around).” Opening up is Phillip Phillips, who’s touring to promote his second album, Behind the Light, released in May. Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, 1000 Ocean Pkwy., Wantagh. jonesbeach.com.$49.50-$117.65. 6:30 p.m. July 11.

The Band Perry (Facebook)
The Band Perry (Facebook)

The Band Perry
Kimberly Perry and her younger brothers Neil and Reid have notched a string of hit country/pop/rock singles as The Band Perry since the Alabama natives made their self-titled debut four years ago. They include chart-toppers “If I Die Young,” “You Lie” and “All Your Life.” With supporting country acts Austin Webb and Maggie Rose. Pennysaver Amphitheater, Bald Hill, 55 South Bicycle Path, Selden. pennysaveramp.com $39.50-$89.50. 5 p.m. July 11.

Spin Doctors
Casual listeners who recall their catchy ‘90s hits “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” and “Two Princes” may be surprised to learn upon seeing these New York City natives play live that the Spin Doctors fancy themselves a jam band. Just go ahead now. With supporting act, Circus Mind. The Space at Westbury, 250 Post Ave., Westbury. thespaceatwestbury.com $25, $30 DOS. 8 p.m. July 11.

American Idol comes to Long Island. (American Idol/Facebook)

American Idol Live
American Idol Season 14—14 (!!)—debuts next year, but auditions to the sing-for-votes reality show are in full swing. The next stop: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale. Hundreds, if not thousands, of fantastic and lousy singers alike will perform before the show’s celebrity judges for a chance of living their dreams and winning over the hearts of rabid American fans who still tune in despite the influx of similar (though lousier, oops, did we say that!?) singing competition shows. Don’t miss out on a chance to cheer on your fellow Long Islanders who have been waiting their whole life for this crucial, mind-numbing moment! Most importantly, tell J Lo and Rye-Rye we looove them!!! Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Tpke., Uniondale. americanidol.com $28.50-$80.05. 8 p.m. July 11.

Ninth Annual Long Island Comedy Festival
With about six comics at more than a dozen dates set at venues from Rockville Centre to Riverhead—never a repeat, 50 comedians total—this summer’s LI comedy fest is sure to include more laughs than a barrel of monkeys. OK, we’ll leave it to the professionals. Through Aug. 23. Opening Night at Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson theatrethree.com 8 p.m. July 11; The Summertime Comedy Showcase, a slap-happy barrage of hilarity and can’t-stop-laughing euphoria that’ll leave you lying on the floor, gigglin’ and hollerin’ long past the actual performances (partnered with Bacardi !!) at the Paramount, 370 New York Ave, Huntington. paramountny.com $15, $20, $25. 8 p.m. July 12; Full schedule at LIComedy.com

Summer of 1969 Exhibit Debut
Celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, the Woodstock Festival and the amazing ’69 Mets World Series win at the Summer of 1969 exhibit’s opening weekend. For those who were alive, it’ll be a trip down memory lane. The rest will see why Bryan Adams sang in his hit “Summer of ’69” that “those were the best days of my life.” An evening with Apollo Astronauts Walt Cunningham and Fred Haise. $15 members, $20 public. 7:30-8:30 p.m., July 11. Meet Legendary Woodstock Festival Organizer Artie Kornfeld. Free with museum admission. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-4p.m. July 12. Apollo Space Program Dinner with Apollo Astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Walt Cunningham and Fred Haise. $100 public, $50 for former Lunar Module workers. 6-9 p.m. July 12. The Cradle of Aviation Museum, Charles Lindbergh Boulevard, Garden City cradleofaviation.org

Long Island International Film Expo

Long Island International Film Festival
Technically, the 17th installment of this film fest started Wednesday, but the opening night party and tech awards don’t get underway until 5 p.m. Friday. There were screenings of shorts before that, although the panel discussions don’t get underway until this weekend. Read more about the woman behind the event in her Press profile. Bellmore Movies, 222 Petit Ave., Bellmore. longislandfilm.com Prices, times vary. July 9-17

Yes
Founded in 1968, Yes has seamlessly overcome a generational alteration in their audience and are considered among the longest continuing and successful ’70s progressive rock groups. The English natives are renowned for their usage of cosmic and mystical lyrics combined with complicated instrumental and vocal arrangements. Despite the departure of key members over the decades, Yes is still producing top-charting music, including their 21st album, Heaven and Earth, which hits stands July 21. NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury. venue.thetheatreatwestbury.com $49.50-$84.25. 8 p.m. July 12

Procol Harum
What could be whiter than a whiter shade of pale? That’s a ghostly question only Gary Brooker, the smashing piano player and the spooky vocalist of this classic British rock band, could answer if the waiter would only bring in another tray of dreams. Those who miss this show can catch the band the following night at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center. The Space at Westbury, 250 Post Ave., Westbury. thespaceatwestbury.com $40-$75. 8 p.m. July 12

VANS Warped Tour 2014
With about 100 bands performing on various stages during the nation’s longest traveling music festival—celebrating its 20th year!—there are simply too many performers to list here. Even the biggest music gluttons on Long Island would be hard-pressed not to walk away having heard some new tunes. The lineup, to name but a few, is set to include alt-hip hop group Air Dubai, pop-punk rockers Yellowcard and alt-metal band The Devil Wears Prada. Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, 1000 Ocean Pkwy., Wantagh. jonesbeach.com. vanswarpedtour.com $39.50. 11 a.m. July 12

Strong Island Ol’ Skool Summer Soul Jam
Dust off the Kangol hats because the ‘90s are making a comeback. With various artists, including Melle Mel, Joeski Love, Oran “Juice” Jones, Brand Nubian featuring Grand Puba, Aly-Us and T-Ski Valley. Hosted by WBLS’ Doctor Bob Lee. DJ Legend spinning all night. The Emporium, 9 Railroad Ave., Patchogue. theemporiumny.com. $15, $20 DOS. 10 p.m. July 12

The Original Wailers
Are you picking up now? The vibration is positive and the “riddim” is reggae. Bob Marley may have gone up in smoke but his band is still with us and for that we can only say: “Praise Jah! The legend lives on!” The Stephen Talkhouse, 161 Main St., Amagansett. stephentalkhouse.com $30-$50. 9 p.m. July 12

Summer Wings and BeerFest
Wing aficionados will go head-to-head at “one million scoville hot wing eating competition” while eight Long Island restaurants and four local breweries will duke it out as they vie for the Summer Wings and Beer Cup. With admission, spectators get 16 chicken wings and 42oz of craft beer. Among the competitors is celebrity chef Johnny McLaughlin from Food Network’s Chopped. Cannon’s Blackthorn, 49 N. Village Ave., Rockville Centre. bestwingsli.com $35 2-7:30 p.m. July 12

First Annual Smithtown Blues Festival
This is a mega Blues-arts & crafts-food explosion to benefit the Smithtown Historical Society in conjunction with the Long Island Blues Society. Long Island’s own Blue Roots, D.A. Blues Band and Dog House Blues Band will be supplying the tunes; you’ll be helping create the stellar vibes. So bring your lawn chair or blanket and get ready for some of the most soul-satisfying tunes and eats (for purchase from Famous Dave’s BBQ Truck & Grill) this side of the Mississippi Delta! Smithtown Historical Society, 239 Middle Country Rd. (Main Street), Smithtown. facebook.com/smithtownbluesfestival $30 SHS Members/$35 Non-Members. Gates open at 2 p.m. 3-10 p.m. July 12

Peter Frampton (Facebook)
Peter Frampton (Facebook)

Peter Frampton
Man, it’s the 70s showing us the way! The rocking great Brit guitarist Peter Frampton has kissed his golden curly locks goodbye years ago—he can wig out if he wants to, considering he co-founded Humble Pie at 18—so here he is today, still hitting the high notes that shimmer all night long. And he’s doing it on the road with the Doobie Brothers, that hard-driving Grammy-winning American band of good old boys who keep on takin’ it to the streets and rockin’ down the highway. Just listen to the music, it’ll be all right. Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, 1000 Ocean Pkwy., Wantagh. jonesbeach.com.$29.50-$117.65. 6 p.m. July 13

The Long Island Battle of the Bands
Featuring Schoeffel, Typhon Rising, Reluctant Mortem, Rest Until It Needs Sacrifice, Them Poor Kids, Nexus Canvas, Bear Success, Orange No. 9 and Avale. Revolution Bar & Music Hall, 140 Merrick Rd., Amityville. revolutionli.com $8, $10 DOS. 1 p.m. July 13

Mash Up: Collages in Mixed Media
Exhibit opening featuring the mixed media works of critically acclaimed Port Washington-based artist Jennifer Scott, who also is a professor of art at Long Island Post and Nassau Community College. Her work is also on view at the Second Avenue Fire House Gallery in Bay Shore. Runs through Sep. 14. The Islip Art Museum, 50 Irish Lane, East Islip. IslipArtMuseum.org  jenscottart.com Free. 1-4 p.m. July 13

Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory
Moviegoers will get a sneak peak of this documentary that followed social worker Dan Cohen, founder of Music & Memory, a Mineola-based nonprofit that trains elder-care professionals to create personalized playlists of memory-triggering music for people suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia and other cognitive disorders. Meet Cohen following the screening. Get $2 off ticket price by donating an old iPod to help the cause. Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington. cinemaartscentre.org $6 Members/$11 Public. 7:30 p.m. July 14

The Who: The Early Years
Watch this iconic band’s then-controversial rise to fame as a part of the British invasion of the ‘60s. Aside from early live concerts of their hits, the movie includes TV performances and rarely seen promotional material. With guest speaker Bill Shelley, host of Rock Legends Live! Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington. cinemaartscentre.org $6 Members/$11 Public. 7:30 p.m. July 15

Anthony Hamilton (Facebook)
Anthony Hamilton (Facebook)

Anthony Hamilton
This Grammy-nominated North Carolina-native soulful R&B crooner, whose latest hit, “Freedom,” was featured last year on the Django Unchained soundtrack, is coming to town. With supporting acts Keke Wyatt and Shaliek. NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury. venue.thetheatreatwestbury.com $49.50-$84.25. 8 p.m., July 16

—Compiled by Spencer Rumsey, Rashed Mian, Nick Crispino, Peter Chin and Timothy Bolger.

Tree-eating Asian Longhorned Beetle Back on Long Island

Asian Longhorn Beetle
Asian Longhorn Beetle

The war against the Asian longhorned beetle, a hardwood tree-eating invasive insect, is heating up on Long Island after agencies battling the bug doubled the quarantine area, which now includes most of Amityville.

This spring, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) expanded LI’s quarantine area from 23 to 51 miles. APHIS and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets also removed and destroyed infected trees last month along the Southern State Parkway in sections of East Farmingdale and West Babylon. Officials are additionally asking the public to do its part by keeping an eye out for the beetles.

“The sooner we know where the beetles are, the sooner we can do something about it and the more trees we can save,” Rhonda Santos, spokeswoman for the APHIS Asian longhorned beetle eradication program, told the Press.

The agency has identified 499 newly infested trees and chipped up 481 of the trees so far this year, according to Santos. A total of 2,467 trees on LI have been lost to the Asian longhorned beetle since it first arrived here 18 years ago.

The beetle is native to China, but they first arrived in the United States in Brooklyn in 1996, having stowed away in cargo shipments. The infestation then spread to the rest of New York City and LI, as well as Massachusetts and Ohio.

“This is a serious forest pest,” said Joseph Gittleman, the project manager for the APHIS program in Amityville. “It preys upon perfectly healthy hardwoods. It doesn’t target trees that are already stressed out or dying.”

The recent removal of infested trees came after a West Babylon resident spotted an Asian longhorned beetle last year—the first sighting of the beetle on LI since 2008, in Amityville.

Before the latest incident, the Island had made some progress in stopping the invasion. APHIS declared the eradication of the beetle from Islip in 2011.

Residents can help by checking trees for the Asian longhorned beetle. The insect is about one inch in length and has a black body with white spots and long antennae. The white worm-like larvae feed on the vascular tissues of infested trees and then burrow out of the trees as adults, leaving dime-sized exit holes in the bark.

“It’s a very striking beetle,” said Santos. “When you see it, it will give you pause. Even if you’re not sure, making a report is certainly better than not making one.”

Those who find an Asian longhorned beetle are urged to take a picture and send the photo to APHIS or email the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Forest Health Program at foresthealth@gw.dec.state.ny.us. The beetle should be kept frozen in a plastic container in case officials want to inspect the specimen.

An important way to prevent the spread of the Asian longhorned beetle is to only burn local firewood. The DEC only allows the import of firewood that has been heat-treated to kill pests. State regulations also prohibit the transportation of untreated firewood more than 50 miles from its source.

“If you’re cutting down trees for firewood, don’t give it away to your neighbors and don’t move it upstate,” said Gittleman. “Just use it up wherever you are.”

For more information about the Asian longhorned beetle and other invasive species, visit this website set up for the first New York State Invasive Species Awareness Week, which runs through Saturday.

Cirque Du Soleil-Varekai at the Barclays Center [TICKET GIVEAWAY]

Cirque Du Soleil invites you to Brooklyn to escape into enchantment… with Varekai, a dream like forest with fantastical creatures.

Cirque Du Soleil-Varekai is coming to the Barclays Center from July 30 through August 3rd.

Tickets start at $45 at www.cirquedusoleil.com. Cirque Du Soleil-Varekai is presented by VISA SIGNATURE with Barclay Card.

Enter your name, email and phone number below for a chance to win! We’re giving away FIVE PAIRS OF TICKETS IN ALL!

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Alure Home Improvements’ 60-Second Fix: How To Clean Vinyl Tilt Windows [Sponsored]

Alure Home Improvements' video segment "Alure's 60-Second Fix with Chief Operating Officer Doug Cornwell: How To Clean Vinyl Tilt Windows" will have your widows sparkling clean in no time flat.

You know that lively Sixties’ song by the Hollies: “Look through any window, yeah, what do you see?”

Well, if all you can see when you look out your window is dirt and grime, that’s a problem. And if you can’t climb up the side of your house like a squirrel or float in thin air like a bird, how are you ever going to get the outside of those windows clean, especially the ones upstairs?

Every homeowner knows that cleaning windows can be a real pain—if you can’t reach the pane, that is. And that’s why we’ve got a helpful house-cleaning tip from Doug Cornwell, Alure Home Improvements Chief Operating Officer, courtesy of “Alure’s 60-Second Fix: How to Clean Vinyl Tilt Windows.”

Now before you begin, you’ll want to make sure you have all your cleaning supplies on hand. The pros recommend having a cloth strip applicator, a squeegee and a squirt of dishwashing liquid in a bucket of warm water, but a hand full of paper towels, a sponge and a spray bottle of glass cleaner certainly will suffice.

So, say you start in the upstairs bedroom. You don’t need to climb a ladder to clean the outside of your vinyl windows. All you have to do is learn how to tilt the windows inside so you can easily access the outside surface. First, you want to make sure that you have enough space in front of you so when you tilt the window toward you, you won’t be too crammed to do the job. That also means drawing the curtains or raising the blinds so they’re not in the way.

The typical vinyl window has two parts: an upper sash and a lower sash. The lower sash has the sash lock located in the middle of its top frame. Flanking the central lock are two little button contraptions, one at each end of the sash. Slide them both toward the center to release the sash from the window frame. Grip the window sash, pull the top toward you and lower the sash until it is horizontal. It can rest on the windowsill while you clean it or against the interior wall of the room.

“Wipe off the dirt, give it a good cleaning and then you’re done!” says Doug Cornwell.

Click here to learn more about Alure Home Improvements

Once you’re satisfied you can see clearly now, tilt the sash back straight up and make sure it’s lined up properly so it will slide inside the window frame. Push it until you hear it click. Then you know it’s securely snug in its upright position.

Repeat the steps with the top sash.

Soon enough you’ll be singing along with Van Morrison: “I’m happy cleaning windows!”

Everything We Know About What Data Brokers Know About You

Daria Loi, a user experience manager at Intel, using an Ultrabook reference device with touchscreen to scroll through a news site (IntelFreePress).

June 13, 2014: This story has been updated. It was originally published on March 7, 2013.

We’ve spent a lot of time this past year trying to understand how the National Security Agency gathers and stores information about ordinary people. But there’s also a thriving public market for data on individual Americans—especially data about the things we buy and might want to buy.

Consumer data companies are scooping up huge amounts of consumer information about people around the world and selling it, providing marketers details about whether you’re pregnant or divorced or trying to lose weight, about how rich you are and what kinds of cars you drive. But many people still don’t know data brokers exist.

The Federal Trade Commission is pushing the companies to give consumers more information and control over what happens to their data. The White House released a report this May outlining concerns that these detailed consumer profiles might lead to race or income-based discrimination—what the White House called “digital redlining.”

It’s very hard to tell who is collecting or sharing your data—or what kinds of information companies are collecting. Early this year, Office Max sent a letter to a grieving father addressed to his name, followed by “daughter killed in car crash.”

Here’s a look at what we know—and what we don’t—about the consumer data industry.

How much do these companies know about individual people?

They start with the basics, like names, addresses and contact information, and add on demographics, like age, race, occupation and “education level,” according to consumer data firm Acxiom’s overview of its various categories.

But that’s just the beginning: The companies collect lists of people experiencing “life-event triggers” like getting married, buying a home, sending a kid to college2014or even getting divorced.

Credit reporting giant Experianhas a separate marketing services division, which sells lists of “names of expectant parents and families with newborns” that are “updated weekly.”

The companies also collect data about your hobbies and many of the purchases you make. Want to buy a list of people who read romance novels? Epsiloncan sell you that, as well as a list of people who donate to international aid charities.

A subsidiary of credit reporting company Equifax even collects detailed salary and pay stub informationfor roughly 38 percentof employed Americans, as NBC news reported. As part of handling employee verification requests, the company gets the information directly from employers.

Equifax said in a statement that the information is only sold to customers “who have been verified through a detailed credentialing process.” It added that if a mortgage company or other lender wants to access information about your salary, they must obtain your permission to do so.

Of course, data companies typically don’t have all of this information on any one person. As Acxiom notes in its overview, “No individual record ever contains all the possible data.” And some of the data these companies sell is really just a guess about your background or preferences, based on the characteristics of your neighborhood, or other people in a similar age or demographic group.

Where are they getting all this info?

The stores where you shop sell it to them.

Datalogix, for instance, which collects information from store loyalty cards, says it has information on more than $1 trillion in consumer spending “across 1400 leading brands.” It doesn’t say which ones. (Datalogix did not respond to our requests for comment.)

Data companies usually refuse to say exactly what companies sell them information, citing competitive reasons. And retailers also don’t make it easy for you to find out whether they’re selling your information.

But thanks to California’s “Shine the Light” law, researchers at U.C. Berkeley were able to get a small glimpse of how companies sell or share your data. The studyrecruited volunteers to ask more than 80 companies how the volunteers’ information was being shared.

Only two companies actually responded with details about how volunteers’ information had been shared. Upscale furniture store Restoration Hardware said that it had sent “your name, address and what you purchased” to seven other companies, including a data “cooperative” that allows retailers to pool data about customer transactions, and another company that later became part of Datalogix. (Restoration Hardware hasn’t responded to our request for comment.)

Walt Disney also responded and described sharing even more information: not just a person’s name and address and what they purchased, but their age, occupation, and the number, age and gender of their children. It listed companies that received data, among them companies owned by Disney, like ABC and ESPN, as well as others, including Honda, HarperCollins Publishing, Almay cosmetics, and yogurt company Dannon.

But Disney spokeswoman Zenia Mucha said that Disney’s letter, sent in 2007, “wasn’t clear” about how the data was actually shared with different companies on the list. Outside companies like Honda only received personal information as part of a contest, sweepstakes, or other joint promotion that they had done with Disney, Mucha said. The data was shared “for the fulfillment of that contest prize, not for their own marketing purposes.”

Where else do data brokers get information about me?

Government records and other publicly available information, including some sources that may surprise you. Your state Department of Motor Vehicles, for instance, may sell personal information—like your name, address, and the type of vehicles you own—to data companies, although only for certain permitted purposes, including identify verification.

Public voting records, which include information about your party registration and how often you vote, can also be bought and sold for commercial purposesin some states.

Are there limits to the kinds of data these companies can buy and sell?

Yes, certain kinds of sensitive data are protected—but much of your information can be bought and sold without any input from you.

Federal law protects the confidentiality of your medical recordsand your conversations with your doctor. There are also strict rules regarding the sale of information used to determine your credit-worthiness, or your eligibility for employment, insurance and housing. For instance, consumers have the right to view and correct their own credit reports, and potential employers have to ask for your consent before they buy a credit report about you.

Other than certain kinds of protected data—including medical records and data used for credit reports—consumers have no legal right to control or even monitor how information about them is bought and sold. As the FTC notes, “There are no current lawsrequiring data brokers to maintain the privacy of consumer data unless they use that data for credit, employment, insurance, housing, or other similar purposes.”

So they don’t sell information about my health?

Actually, they do.

Data companies can capture information about your “interests” in certain health conditions based on what you buy—or what you search for online. Datalogix has lists of people classified as “allergy sufferers” and “dieters.”Acxiom sells data on whether an individual has an “online search propensity” for a certain “ailment or prescription.”

Consumer data is also beginning to be used to evaluate whether you’re making healthy choices.

One health insurance companyrecently bought data on more than three million people’s consumer purchases in order to flag health-related actions, like purchasing plus-sized clothing, the Wall Street Journal reported. (The company bought purchasing information for current plan members, not as part of screening people for potential coverage.)

Spokeswoman Michelle Douglas said that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina would use the data to target free programming offers to their customers.

Douglas suggested that it might be more valuable for companies to use consumer data “to determine ways to help me improve my health” rather than “to buy my data to send me pre-paid credit card applications or catalogs full of stuff they want me to buy.”

Do companies collect information about my social media profiles and what I do online? (Updated June 12, 2014)

Yes.

As we highlighted last year, some data companies record—and then resell—all kinds of information you post online, including your screen names, website addresses, interests, hometown and professional history, and how many friends or followers you have.

Acxiom said it collects information about which social media sites individual people use, and “whether they are a heavy or a light user,” but that they do not collect information about “individual postings” or your “lists of friends.”

More traditional consumer data can also be connected with information about what you do online. Datalogix, the company that collects loyalty card data, has partnered with Facebook to track whether Facebook users who see ads for certain products actually end up buying them at local stores, as the Financial Times reported in 2012.

In fact, the effort to connect online and offline information about you is one of the hottest new trends in the data industry. Companies are increasingly trying to use information about your offline purchases to target you online.

And it’s not limited to what you buy: in the 2012 elections, companies were able to match your voting record to a cookie on your computer—allowing candidates to target you with online ads based on whether you’re a registered Democrat or Republican—or how much you donated to political campaigns before.

Is there a way to find out exactly what these data companies know about me? (Updated 6/12/2013)

Not really—although that’s beginning to change.

You have the right to review and correct your credit report. But with marketing data, there’s often no way to know exactly what information is attached to your name—or whether it’s accurate.

Most companies offer, at best, a partial picture.

ProPublica’s Julia Angwin requested information about herself from data brokers, and was “equally irked by the reports that were wrong—data brokers who thought I was a single mother with no education—as I was by the ones that were correct—is it necessary for someone to track that I recently bought underwear online?”

In September 2013, Acxiom debuted aboutthedata.com, which allows to you review and edit some of the company’s marketing data on you, by entering your name, address, birth date and the last four digits of your social security number.

The Federal Trade Commission’s Julie Brill tweeted that “more data brokers should follow” Acxiom’s example. But the effort received mixed reviewsfrom users, privacy advocates and government regulators, the New York Times reported.

Previously, Acxiom only let customers review a smaller sliceof the information the company sells about them, including criminal history, as New York Times reporter Natasha Singer described in 2012. When Singer requested and finally received her report in 2012, all it included was a record of her residential addresses.

Other companies also offer some access. A spokeswoman for Epsilon said it allows consumers to review “high level information” about their data—like whether or not you’ve purchased “home furnishings” merchandise. (Requests to review this information cost $5 and can only be made by postal mail.)

RapLeaf, a company that advertises that it has “real-time data” on 80 percent of U.S. email addresses, says it gives customers “total control over the data we have on you,” and allows them to review and edit the categories it associates with them (like “estimated household income” and “Likely Political Contributor to Republicans”).

How do I know when someone has purchased data about me?

Most of the time, you don’t.

When you’re checking out at a store and a cashier asks you for your Zip code, the store isn’t just getting that single piece of information. Acxiom and other data companies offer services that allow stores to use your Zip code and the name on your credit card to pinpoint your home address2014 without asking you for it directly.

Is there any way to stop the companies from collecting and sharing information about me? (Updated 6/12/2013)

Sometimes—but it requires a whole lot of work.

Some data brokers offer consumers the chance to “opt out” of being included in their databases, or at least from receiving advertising enabled by that company. Rapleaf, for instance, has a “Permanent opt-out” that “deletes informationassociated with your email address from the Rapleaf database.”

But to actually opt-out effectively, you need to know about all the different data brokers and where to find their opt-outs. Most consumers, of course, don’t have that information.

We collected a list of data brokers that will give you copies of your data, and another list of data brokers that allow you to opt-out.

Of the 212 data brokers she identified, less than half—92—accepted opt-outs. For most of them, the op-out process was laborious. Many required her to submit some form of identification, such as a driver’s license, in order to opt out. In some cases, she wrote, “I decided not to opt-out because the service seemed so sketchy that I didn’t want to send in any additional information.”

But she was able to clear her information from some databases: “A search for my name on some of the largest people-search websites, such as Intelius and Spokeo, yields no relevant results,” she wrote.

In a 2012 privacy report, the FTC suggested that data brokers should create a centralized websitethat would make it easier for consumers to learn about the existence of these companies and their rights regarding the data they collect.

How many people do these companies have information on?

Basically everyone in the U.S. and many beyond it. Acxiom, recently profiled by the New York Times, says it has information on 500 million people worldwide, including “nearly every U.S. consumer.”

After the 9/11 attacks, CNN reported, Acxiom was able to locate 11 of the 19 hijackers in its database.

How is all of this data actually used?

Mostly to sell you stuff. Companies want to buy lists of people who might be interested in what they’re selling—and also want to learn more about their current customers.

They also sell their information for other purposes, including identity verification, fraud prevention and background checks.

If new privacy laws are passed, will they include the right to see what data these companies have collected about me?

Unlikely.

In a 2012 report on privacy, the Federal Trade Commission recommended that Congress pass legislation“that would provide consumers with access to information about them held by a data broker.” President Barack Obama has also proposed a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rightsthat would give consumers the right to access and correct certain information about them.

But this probably won’t include access to marketing data, which the Federal Trade Commission considers less sensitive than data used for credit reports or identity verification.

In terms of marketing data, “we think at the very least consumers should have access to the general categories of data the companies have about consumers,” said Maneesha Mithal of the FTC’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection.

Data companies have also pushed back against the idea of opening up marketing profiles for individual consumers’ inspection.

Even if there were errors in your marketing data profile, “the worst thing that could happen is that you get an advertising offer that isn’t relevant to you,” said Rachel Thomas, the vice president of government affairs at the Direct Marketing Association.

“The fraud and security risks that you run by opening up those files is higher than any potential harm that could happen to the consumer,” Thomas said.

How do data brokers impact you? See the back-and-forth from 2013 Twitter chat with three privacy reporters.

7 Beach Hacks: An Insider’s Guide to Long Island Beaches

Lovers stroll along the seashore in Long Beach in June 2014. (Photo by Joe Abate)

Editor’s note: this story has been updated.

Seasoned Long Island beach bums know better than anyone that natural highlights, sun-kissed complexions and carefree attitudes worn proudly by frequent beachgoers do not manifest overnight.

But, oceanfront homeowners aside, all of those trips to the shore aren’t free. It can take years to decode labyrinth park rules while trying not to break the bank 100 times over on parking fees alone. All while praying for the weather to cooperate.

For those who have never dared to venture beyond Jones Beach State Park, the Press has compiled this Insider’s Guide to Long Island Beaches, highlighting hidden gems, loopholes and savings.

And yes, this guide is specifically for south shore ocean beaches because, well, sand. Kick rocks, Long Island Sound.

1. BUY IN BULK

Ask any Costco shopper or sports fan season ticket holder: volume discounts are worth their weight in gold.

An Empire Passport may cost a cool $80, but it spares drivers $8-$10 per vehicle at six LI ocean beaches run by the New York State parks department. They include Jones, Robert Moses, Hither Hills, Shadmoor, Camp Hero and Montauk Point. Go to these beaches any more than twice a month from May to September and it pays off—plus the pass is good for free entry to most state parks until Dec. 31.

The Suffolk County Green Key—$30 for residents, $200 for non-residents—offers reduced admission to county-run beaches, such as Smith Point on the eastern tip of Fire Island, Cupsogue in Westhampton, Shinnecock East in Southampton, Meschutt in Hampton Bays and Montauk County Park. Reduced rates are also offered for seniors and veterans. Entrance is free for disabled veterans.

The Nassau County Leisure Pass, available to Nassau residents only, costs $32. With it, access to Nickerson Beach in Lido is discounted from $35 to $13, meaning the pass starts saving money after just two visits. Discounts available for vets, elders, civic duty volunteers, and active military.

2. THE GOLDEN HOUR

Rather pay nothing to go to the beach? Just wait until dusk. While the state-run beaches stop charging for entry at 4 p.m. on weekdays and 6 p.m. on weekends, waiting until late afternoon when the town-run beaches stop collecting saves the most money.

That’s because many town beaches charge exponentially higher fees for non-town residents. The best example is the Town of Oyster Bay’s oceanfront park, Tobay Beach, which offers $60 season passes for town residents and charges non-residents a whopping $50 per visit on weekdays (non-residents not allowed during weekends collection times).

But, ticket agents stop collecting there at 6 p.m. and Tobay has three restaurants open til 11 p.m. The Crazy Oyster and the Mango Bay Latin Kitchen and Cantina, both on the bay, are open daily and oceanfront The Ocean Club is open 6-11 p.m. Saturdays.

Rivaling those rates is the Town of Babylon, where residents can buy a season pass for $45 and non-residents are charged up to $30 per visit on weekends and $20 weekdays to super-popular Gilgo and Cedar beaches (non-Babylonians are shunned altogether from Overlook)—until 5 p.m., that is. Dedicated after-hours Cedar Beach visitors who find the lot full can walk from nearby Overlook Beach immediately to the east.

Ticket collectors also go home at 5 p.m. at Town of Hempstead beaches, including Point Lookout, Lido, Lido West and Sands on the east end of Long Beach Island, where rates are $10 for residents and $25 for non-residents. Hempstead doesn’t have a town-wide park pass, but season passes are offered at individual beaches with deals such as 15 trips for $100.

3. ONLY TOURISTS PAY FOR PARKING

East of those beaches is Fire Island, where—aside from Robert Moses and Smith Point—a $19 round-trip ferry trip is generally required to mid-island hot spots that don’t allow vehicles. That means struggling to find parking at the ferry terminals, where lots quickly fill up on summer weekends.

FI beachgoers who drive to the Bay Shore port can spare themselves ferry company parking lot fees if they find a free spot on a side street north of Montauk Highway and walk the half hour to the boats or hop a $5 cab, which is still cheaper than pay lots or fines. But, make sure it’s a 12-hour spot and don’t park there overnight or the summons will negate the savings. 

While that helps for those destined for communities between Kismet and Ocean Bay Park, parking at the Sayville train station also saves fees at that town’s FI ferry terminal to eastern FI destinations such as Fire Island Pines, Cherry Grove, Sailor’s Haven and Water Island.

Those heading for Davis Park, where beachgoers leave from the Patchogue terminal, find that being a Brookhaven resident with a $15 park pass ($5 for vets, handicapped, and elders) good for two years beats paying much more for parking without. Everyone else can park free at the Watch Hill ferry terminal—or the train station a block away if that lot is full—then take the Watch Hill boat to get across the bay and walk 15 minutes west to Davis Park. But watch out, there’s a 20-minute walk back to the car from the Davis Park ferry terminal if not returning via the Watch Hill boat, which stops running earlier.

4. HOOF IT

There are a few bucks to be saved for those that don’t mind putting some work into it with these two tricks.

Save on ferry fare by parking at Robert Moses State Park’s field 5 and taking the scenic 1.7-mile stroll east to Kismet, the westernmost residential community of FI, home to two spunky bars/restaurants. Those game for adding another mile on that hike—or bring an off-road bicycle to ride down unpaved Burma Road—are rewarded with Fair Harbor, the only other western FI community with a restaurant before unpaved roads farther east make it impossible to ride without a fat-tired beach bike. Beachfront walkers beware: naturalists have been rebelling against a post-Sandy nude beach ban at Lighthouse Beach.

While that trick has been around, this one is new. The new pedestrian path connecting Jones and ToBay beaches is another way non-Oyster Bay town residents can avoid paying parking fees. The path starts at Cedar Creek County Park in Seaford, which makes it a good way to catch some sun without burning a hole in the wallet.

5. SAIL AND SAVE

Most marina docking fees are around the same or steeper than parking lots, but Gilgo Beach and ToBay Beach offer boaters bargain pricing. At Gilgo, after purchasing a $50 boat-docking pass for the season, the daily fee is $5 for small boats. At ToBay, residents for can purchase full-season boating passes as low as $65-$90. Both vary with the size of the boat.

Breaking down docking fees in even greater detail are the experts over at Boating Times Long Island, who regularly update their handy Marina 411 feature. The editor also notes that boaters can also simply anchor their vessels for free in areas such as Hemlock Cove near Cedar Beach, wade to shore and then walk to the beach.

For those without a boat to call their own, Long Island Rail Road offers combined ferry fare and cab packages. For under $50, it includes ferry fare and three-course meal at one of three Ocean Beach restaurants: McGuire’s, The Island Mermaid or Bocce Beach. The catch is the deal is only offered Monday through Thursday, but that’s a steal for the notoriously expensive barrier island.

6. SHACKING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS

Rivaling the celebrity of its residents are some of the Hamptons famed beaches, which have ranked in recent years on Dr. Beach’s prestigious nation-wide Top 10 list, including Main Beach in East Hampton and Coopers Beach in Southampton.

The rate at Coopers Beach is $50 per day, but drivers can park on Halsey Neck and walk across to skip the parking fee, notes Nicole B. Brewer, executive editor and publisher of Hamptons.com. Otherwise, drivers should check the signs to ensure parking is allowed on side streets, as it usually isn’t. Every other beach requires a permit, including Main Beach, which charges $30 for residents and non-residents alike.

Park at the Montauk Lighthouse to save on parking fees at Ditch Plains Beach, the Montauk home of the famous surf spot and infamous Ditch Witch truck, or take advantage of the Hamptons Free Ride from Southampton to Montauk and beaches along the way for free from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, added Brewer.

Of course, an even better idea is finding a friend or relative who rents or lives on the South Fork to save on the parking tickets that wind up on vehicles driven by tourists that inevitably confuse the rules. That doesn’t mean be like the stalkers who were arrested after making themselves at home in mansions owned by Sean Combs and Jennifer Lopez.

7: OT BY THE SEA

This one is for those looking for more nighttime fun at the beach can stay at the shore beyond the park-closes-at-dusk rules.

There are three oceanfront Tiki Joe’s (formerly Beach Huts) on the barrier islands, including ones in Smith Point, Meschutt Beach and Cupsogue Beach. All are open until 9:30 p.m.—plenty of time to chill out after the 5 p.m. free entry starts. Most locations offer live music nightly, same as the above-mentioned restaurants in Tobay open til 11 p.m.

The eponymous Gilgo Beach Inn that also sits bayside hosts the occasional live band and stays open until sundown, too. 

Baldwin’s Chris Weidman Defending UFC Title vs. Brazilian Lyoto Machida

Baldwin's superman Chris Weidman celebrates his middleweight championship victory July 6, 2013. The Long Island hero will be defending his title against Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida July 5, 2014. (Photo credit: Chris Weidman's Facebook profile)

Baldwin-native Chris “The All-American” Weidman is defending his middleweight title against former light heavyweight champion and Brazilian standout Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida in a hotly contested international Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bout riding the wave of patriotism whipped up in the World Cup.

Dubbed “International Fight Week” by UFC, Weidman (11-0) will be tackling one of his hardest challenges in Machida (21-4), a national hero of Brazil, on Pay-per-view at UFC 175 on Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. It comes about a year after Weidman, the odds stacked against him, defeated the former pound-for-pound king, Anderson “The Spider” Silva, in a “Rocky Balboa”-type of moment, knocking out the champ in the second round on July 6, 2013. Shocking the mixed martial arts (MMA) universe, his win was criticized by many as a fluke, but Weidman laid his critics to rest as he went on to beat Silva in a rematch to retain the title at UFC 168 in December.

“I had a lot to prove in the second fight, I knew I was a better fighter and now I’m going to move on in the middleweight division,” said Weidman at a press conference for UFC 175. Having double-knee surgery after the Silva fight, Weidman added he “never felt better.” As of Thursday, Weidman is a 9-to-5 favorite to retain his title, with Machida getting 8-to-5 odds to win.

Known as a full-contact combat sport, MMA uses both striking and grappling techniques from a variety of other combat sports and martial arts. The fight isn’t just regulated to standing up, as practitioners in jiu-jitsu and wrestling utilize their ground game to take opponents down. Judging is based on a 10-point scoring system with each round lasting five minutes for a total of five rounds in a championship match and three rounds in a non-championship tilt.

Chris Weidman
Nassau County Community College (NCC) alumni/wrestler/former UFC fighter Jay Hieron (L) and veteran NCC wrestling team coach Paul Schmidt pose alongside MMA superstar champion Chris Weidman while he accepts one of his many accolades. (Photo from Weidman’s Twitter account)

Weidman’s storied career began during his years attending Baldwin High School, as he helped win both Nassau County and New York State wrestling championships. After graduating, he earned four All-American wrestling honors, two at Nassau Community College and two at Hofstra University. It was during his time at Hofstra that Weidman was introduced to MMA coach Ray Longo and former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra of East Meadow.

Weidman attempted to make a run at the Olympics after his college years, but it didn’t come to fruition as he found his niche as a wrestling coach and then a fighter for Longo’s gym. Fighting under the Serra/Longo Competition Team, both Serra and Longo have MMA schools on Long Island. Ray Longo Mixed Martial Arts is located in Garden City while Serra’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu schools are based out of Levittown and Huntington.

At 24-years-old, Weidman made his professional debut in a minor organization called Ring of Combat in 2009. After a successful run, he was called by the UFC and won his first fight for the company two years later. He went on to beat world-class competitors before eventually receiving his title shot at UFC 162 for the middleweight belt against Silva.

MMA organizations having deals with Viacom, NBC and NewsCorp have brought the sport from a fringe event to the mainstream. With that star power, Weidman has given back to Long Island. Last month, he helped raise money for Isaiah Bird, a 6-year-old who was born without legs who is currently living in a Glen Cove shelter, and after Sandy Weidman held a fundraiser for the storm’s survivors.

Still, the sport isn’t for everyone. Since the UFC’s first event in 1993, the company, now owned by Zuffa LLC, has gone through great lengths to appease opponents, and representatives say they have worked diligently to create a safer environment for their employees.

New York is the only state with an athletic commission that doesn’t allow the regulation of MMA. The state Senate has passed legislation to regulate MMA for five straight years, most recently this May, but it has yet to pass the state Assembly.

“It’s disheartening, it doesn’t make any sense at all, you can fight pretty much anywhere in the world but cannot in New York,” said Weidman, noting that besides him and Serra, the state is home to a third champion, Jon Jones. “It’s a complete joke and it has gotten to the point where it’s past frustrating….The fans should have a show that they deserve.”

He’ll have to channel some of that anger this weekend. Brazil has roots in MMA dating back many decades. Machida, who uses a karate-style and is not only one of the best counter-strikers in the game, he’s close friends with the former champ Silva, was asked at the press conference about bringing a belt back to his home country.

“There’s always pressure but I can change that pressure into motivation for Brazil.” Machida said. “This isn’t personal to me at all….It comes down to whoever can use their discipline better, anything can happen in MMA.”

Do This: Long Island Events July 3-9

The Go-Gos
Break out the jean jackets and the hoop earrings. These pioneering Los Angeles-based all-female new wave rockers who rose to fame in the 1980s will rip through all their infectious hits, such as “We Got The Beat,” “Vacation” and “Head Over Heels.” Dancin’ and boppin’ guaranteed. With supporting act Laura Stevenson. The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. paramountny.com $45-$91.75. 8 p.m. July 3

The Fest
Georgia-based country rocker Brantley Gilbert headlines this Southern-sounding soiree. With supporting acts Thomas Rhett, Tyler Farr, Cole Swindell, American Young and Leah Turner. Pennysaver Amphitheater, Bald Hill, 55 South Bicycle Path, Selden. pennysaveramp.com $30-$187. 2 p.m. July 3

Fat Joe
The Bronx-born Latin rapper will break out some of his hits, such as “Lean Back,” “Make It Rain” and What’sLuv?” for Throwback Thursday with DJ Class, Odel Young, Smooth City, Click Da Cosigner, Killa K, Scott Camello. The Emporium, 9 Railroad Ave., Patchogue. theemporiumny.com. $10, $15 DOS. 9 p.m. July 3

Badfish
What better way to ring in the true start of summer on Long Island—Fourth of July weekend, when school is finally out—with the beachy good SoCal vibes of this Sublime tribute band. Love is what they got! Mulcahy’s, 3232 Railroad Ave, Wantagh. muls.com $15. 9 p.m. July 3

Paint Night
“Drink Creatively” at a fool-proof two-hour instructional painting event intended for both the artistically inclined and eh, not-so-much. Join instructor Rachel Kremidas as she walks eager painters through their unique renditions of the “Lone Cherry Blossom” painting originally created just for Paint Night. Brooklyn Fire Proof, 119 Ingraham St., Brooklyn. Brooklynfireproof.com. $65. 7 p.m. July 3

Read More: Long Island Fourth of July 2014 Fireworks and Events Listings Here

The Scofflaws
This is the gig you want to hit as the sky turns violet, the brews are cracked and the explosions paint the sky. Trust us. These legendary Huntington-based rude boys pick it up with rocksteady and ska at an outdoor waterfront show before the fireworks. Their songs are ferocious. Their groove is magnetic. Their vibe is electric. You won’t be able to control yourself. Skank, skank, skank, skank, skank! Patio on the Dock, Northport Village Park, Main Street, Northport. 7 p.m. July 4

Nancy Atlas Project
When the fireworks die down and the night heats up, ride the wave of patriotism with this Commack-born, Southern-styled Americana songstress billed as the missing link between Lucinda Williams and Sheryl Crow. The Stephen Talkhouse, 161 Main St., Amagansett. stephentalkhouse.com $30. 10 p.m. July 4.

Amagansett Fine Arts Festival
Hamptons at its artsiest. This colorful and imaginative celebration features a smorgasbord of artistic works for sale: sculptures, paintings, drawings and mixed media, including reproductions and original works. Truly inspiring. American Legion Amagansett, 15 Montauk Hwy., Amagansett. amagansettfinearts.com Free. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Closes at 5 p.m. Sunday.) July 4-6

BeachBoys
The Beach Boys
Fun, fun, fun! It doesn’t get much more fitting than watching “America’s Band” play on Fourth of July weekend at everyone’s favorite seaside amphiteater. With supporting acts Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals and The Lovin’ Spoonful. Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, 1000 Ocean Pkwy., Wantagh. jonesbeach.com.$29.50-$79.50. 7:30 p.m. July 5

Zongo Junction
Free album release show supporting already fast-growing Brooklyn-native afrobeat style band, Zongo Junction. Electrifying dance floors with five horns and a six-piece rhythm section. With Chicano Batman. Brooklyn Night Bazaar. 165 Banker St., Brooklyn. Bkbazaar.com. Free. 7 p.m. July 5

Freestyle Explosion  
Starring the Miami dance scene legend Stevie B. With supporting acts Quad City DJs, Debbie Deb, Timex Social Club, C-Bank, Rob Base, Laura Enea and Nayobe. Bump and grind the night away! Pennysaver Amphitheater, Bald Hill, 55 South Bicycle Path, Selden. pennysaveramp.com $25-$84. 5 p.m. July 5

Commodores
Anyone who missed Lionel Ritchie play Jones Beach last month can get their Motown fix with the rest of the Commodores, featuring original member and lead guitarist Thomas McClary as they play their hits, including “Easy,” “Brick House” and “Nightshift.” 76 Main St., Westhampton Beach. whbpac.org $95-$150. 8 p.m. July 6

Snoop Lion, aka Snoop Dogg
For those who didn’t get the memo, West Coast hip-hop bad-boy Snoop Dogg has altered his bark and released his first reggae album, Reincarnated, under the name Snoop Lion after being blessed by a Rastafarian priest. Don’t worry, he’s still sure to play “Gin & Juice.” The Space at Westbury, 250 Post Ave., Westbury. thespaceatwestbury.com $45. 8p.m. July 8

Long Island International Film Festival
The 16th annual LI film fest “warm up” starts with blocks of short films on July 7 ahead of the official opening night reception and first round of awards that Friday night. Panels throughout this nine-day cinematic celebration include workshops on script writing, financing and acting. Closing night award ceremony July 17. Bellmore Movies, 222 Petit Ave., Bellmore. longislandfilm.com Prices, times vary. July 9-17

Sky Ferreira
The synthpop siren serenades about love and chaos to benefit the David Lynch Foundation, which funds transcendental meditation programs for a host of people in need, ranging from at-risk students and veterans suffering PTSD to domestic violence survivors and diabetic American Indians, among many others. With DJ sets by Ladies Night, Vito Roccoforte (The Rapture) & special guests. Music Hall of Williamsburg, 66 North 6th St., Brooklyn. musichallofwilliamsburg.com $25 ADV/$30 DOS. 8 p.m. July 9

Travel Diary: Experience The Magic of Saratoga Springs [Sponsored]

Escape to the races with the top down. Visit NY Auto Giant today and drive home the car of your dreams. Now that's a win-win.

Continue the excitement and momentum of the Kentucky Derby with a trip up to Saratoga Springs. A few hours in the car puts you right in the heart of the Northeast’s racing country, just in time for opening day at famed Saratoga Race Course on July 18.

And there’s no better way to cruise there than behind the wheel of a sleek, stylish 2014 Infiniti Q60 coupe or convertible from NY Auto Giant. The summer is the perfect time to put the top down and take in the sights, sounds, and ambiance of one of the United States’ most authentically quaint towns. This car is as gorgeous, comfortable and powerful as the experience you’re in for on this amazing trip.

There’s plenty to see and do when you get there.

The world-famous racetrack, which has been featured in such films as The Horse Whisperer and Seabiscuit, boasts daily live races through Sept. 1 (except Tuesdays) including several invitational and special challenges.

On Mondays the course is home to weekly family festivals. Admission is free for children 12 and under when accompanied by an adult and these day-long events include free arts and crafts, face painting, bouncy inflatables and mascot appearances, along with additional activities ranging from puppet building workshops to reptile exhibits.

Click here to learn more about NY Auto Giant

Besides the horses, there’s so much to do in this historic and picturesque town it really becomes just a matter of what you and the family feel like on any particular day.

Saratoga is home to a bevy of mineral springs renowned for their legendary healing powers and health benefits. Locals swear by the springs’ magical effects, attributing soaking in the “egg water” (as it’s called due to its unique aroma) with helping alleviate stress and even melting away skintags, among so many other benefits.

Approximately 17 mineral springs create a network of spas and bath houses perfect for rejuvenating your family’s spirits following the roughly four-hour trek here from Long Island.

What’s that? It’s relaxation, fine dining and great accommodations you seek!? Check into a room at the Gideon Putnam Resort & Spa and thank us later! Beautiful grounds, great food and several mineral spas and baths make this a must-go for any visit to ‘Toga.

Then of course, there are the myriad shops, restaurants and bars lining Saratoga’s vibrant downtown main drag Broadway and popular Caroline Street.

Delve into a loaded SF Mission Burrito and steaming Fajitas platter at Cantina—the strip’s choice go-to for fresh, quality authentic Mexican. These things are monsters, replete with lime-zested rice, Tecate simmered black beans, fresh chicken or steak, peppers, onions, guac and oh-so-soft and scrumptiously satisfying tortillas. Wow.

Stop in at your pick of watering holes, ranging from the Tin ’N’ Lint—where Don McLean is alleged to have written his classic “American Pie” over a few pints—to the sports-themed Caroline Street Pub and always-fun Desperate Annie’s. Be sure and play a quick game of foosball at the latter.

9 Maple Avenue is known for its world-class jazz and wide selection of local beers, and for the best hole in the wall down-home barbecue this side of the Mason Dixon, don’t miss Hattie’s Chicken Shack. Order up the award-winning chicken and waffles that sent Bobby Flay home with his tail between his legs when he dared to challenge them with a “Throw Down.” Slather them with both hot sauce and maple syrup. Dunk a few tidbits in your steaming cup of fresh-brewed coffee on their way down. Trust us. Yum.

Change it up and stay at the historic charming Union Gables B&B, voted Best three years in a row. This elegant mansion has been at the heart of Saratoga Springs since 1901 and was renovated in 2005 to include all of the updated luxuries you’d expect: flat screen televisions, high speed Wi-Fi, in-room refrigerators and robes for each guest. In the mornings, enjoy a cooked-to-order full breakfast.

Nearby, you’ll find the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Perfect for picnics, concerts, Frisbee-tossing and people watching.

Cruise to Saratoga Springs behind the wheel of a 2014 Infiniti Q60 from NY Auto Giant. We promise you, you'll love it. Game on.
Cruise to Saratoga Springs behind the wheel of a 2014 Infiniti Q60 from NY Auto Giant. We promise you, you’ll love it. Game on.

For authentic Irish beer hall seating, check out the Parting Glass. And you can’t leave the area during horse season without a cocktail and a bite from Gaffney’s, billed as “Saratoga’s Place to Be Since 1978.”

Saratoga is also home to the famed Yaddo artist colony, which has hosted the likes of 68 Pulitzer Prize-winning authors including Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, Saul Bellow and Leonard Bernstein.

Recite some poetry, celebrate life or embark on a day-long adventure through Saratoga’s gorgeous nature trails—you’ll never want to leave this place, but as you get back in your Infiniti Q60, the summer breeze blowing through your hair, know this and be comforted: Once you’ve immersed yourself in the wonder that is Saratoga, it never really leaves you.

For more information on how you can get a 2014 convertible Infiniti Q60, call Troy Calabrese at Lynbrook Infiniti.

Kidz Bop at The Space at Westbury [Review]

This past weekend, hundred of Long Island kids and parents turned out to The Space at Westbury for the 2014 edition of the Kidz Bop tour.
 
Recently named Billboard’s #1 kids artists for the fourth consecutive year, the KIDZ BOP Kids are bringing their nationwide “Dream Big, Sing Loud!” Tour across the country and this was a stop along the way. This year’s group featured Ashlynn Chong, Bredia Santoro, Grant Knoche, Matt Martinez, and Jayna Brown; who are all between the ages of 10 and 12; these kidz can really sing, dance, and play Instruments!
 
Ashley is from California, Bredia is from Illinois, Grant from Texas, Matt is from New Jersey and Jayna is from Maryland. These five extremely talented kids were chosen out of thousands who auditioned to sing on albums, appear in commercials and music videos, interact with members on KIDZBOP.COM and perform live on tour, year-round – and they really pulled it off in person at the show. 
 
The KIDZ BOP Kids perform kid-friendly versions of today’s biggest hits in a high-energy and interactive show, complete with live tweeting on a screen behind the band as they play. The “Dream Big, Sing Loud!” live show is the ultimate family concert experience that guarantees to get everyone singing and dancing along, and the Space was moving to the beat all afternoon.
 
KIDZ BOP is a perennial best seller with more than 14 million albums sold, and their most recent album KIDZ BOP 25 debuted at #3 on the Billboard Top 200 (and as the #1 Kid Album) and has remained in top 5 since its release. Their next music release, KB 26, is set to be out on July 15, 2014
       
Fun fact: In 2013, KIDZ BOP outsold some of today’s biggest artists including Miley Cyrus, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kanye West, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. They have 18 Billboard Top 10 debuts. Only 8 artists in history – such as Elvis, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Madonna – have had more. 
 
Watch the Safe and Sound Music Video from KB 25 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3N5gYH6moc
 
For more information about the “Sing Loud, Dream Big!” Tour, visit: www.kidzbop.com/tour